The end is nigh. Josep Guardiola Sala has agreed to join Manchester City in the summer. Our season is over. We might as well all pack up now and go home.
Hysteria, hysteria, hysteria.
I have a few thoughts about it, mixed thoughts, that I will attempt to share (badly).
Am I disappointed he is going to Manchester City? Yes. Ever since he was at Barcelona, I felt he was the right fit for the next Arsenal manager. On paper.
I have always said that if a better option than Arsene Wenger comes available, he must step aside and go. Jurgen Klopp, Guardiola & Carlo Ancelotti three such men. All would have been at a new(ish) club during a 12 month period. Have Arsenal missed out? Potentially.
His success at Barcelona and Bayern Munich is unquestionable, but also questionable at the same time. Hence the mixed thoughts.
Trophies, trebles, success. At both clubs.
But he clearly enjoys a club with a set up. Where global stars are already at the club. Where there is money to spend.
At Barcelona, he already had Puyol, Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, etc. In the 4 years at Barcelona, he spent €305million. And won it all.
Then onto Bayern Munich. Robben, Ribery, Neuer, Alaba, Lahm, Schweinsteiger and more. €180million over 3 years spent. And able to pick up his rivals best player on a free transfer.
Yes, his high pressing game causes issues. But is he a tactical genius? Is he a good coach? Who knows. Because everywhere he has been, he has had the best players. Or been able to buy the best players. He clearly enjoys an easy job.
Look at Barcelona. He left them in 2012 with just the Copa Del Rey in his final season. The season after he left Barcelona won the league. In total since he left them, Barca have won 2 out of 3 La Liga’s and the Champions League. They have had 4 managers.
Luis Enrique won the treble. Is he a managerial genius?
And at Bayern Munich. In the season before Pep Guardiola took over, they also won the domestic treble.
That brings up the question, is it Guardiola who is bringing success to these clubs? Or is it these clubs bringing success to Guardiola.
Of course, over the last 7 years, he has earnt the right to pick the club he joins. And of course he is going to pick the club which gives him the best opportunity of success in the Premier League. And that club is Manchester City. Why would he take on a challenge? Like Mourinho he has earnt his stripes. He does not need to take on a challenge, a tough job, unless he wants to.
And that then brings up the question as to whether he is the right fit for Arsenal.
Whilst the Arsenal job is not the hardest in the world, it is not as easy as Manchester City. Would he be the right man working within our wage budget – everywhere he has been he is in charge of a club with a much higher wage bill than Arsenal.
Does he fancy the job of fighting it out for a top player, rather than just slinging more money at them?
We label Guardiola as someone who likes a project. Yet he has never stayed anywhere more then 4 years. He says 3 years is more than any manager should spend at a club. So does he like a project any more then Jose Mourinho?
Mourinho is often derided for walking into easy jobs. For leaving after a 3 or 4 years. Is Guardiola any different? Or is he just more polite. More loved by the press. So they ignore his indiscretions?
He clearly has the arrogance of Mourinho. Announcing half way through the year that he plans to leave the club currently employing him. If you did that at your employer, gave 6 months notice, you would be put on gardening leave straight away. But Guardiola has now done it, twice. So in 3 years time, when at City, I imagine with 4 months to go in the season, he will be announcing once more that he is leaving.
That being said, he clearly has something about him. He clearly is a good manager. A good motivator. A good tactician.
It is disappointing that he is going to Manchester City rather than Arsenal next season.
Despite his bad points, like Mourinho, he guarantees success.
Arsenal are stupid to not have enquired about him. Maybe they did? But we probably know they did not.
But let’s not throw the toys out of the pram yet.
At the end of the day, Guardiola going to City in the summer makes no difference to Arsenal’s chances of winning the title now. In fact, it arguably strengthens it. Will players be that motivated to play for a manger who is set to leave (we all remember what happened at Manchester United when Fergie announced his original retirement in the early to mid 00’s).
And Yaya Toure, he will know he is off in the summer, having had a fractious relationship with Guardiola at Barcelona. Will he be at 100%? Or will it be a case of self preservation. Do not try too hard. Do not get injured. Work on a deal away.
A final thought, on the table would have been offers from Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United. He chose Manchester City. Arguably the easiest job of them all.
Pep Guardiola clearly does not like a challenge.
In 3 years time, PSG will be announcing him as their new manager. Get money on it.